Seinfeld's $100 million-dollar deal with Netflix

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Great Comedians. Great Stories. Told Differently. 

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Jerry Seinfeld was sure that Netflix was the perfect home for his well-loved web series called "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee." The fact that Netflix used to mail DVDs in envelopes convinced Seinfeld that the decision to move his series from Crackle to Netflix made good business sense. Both Netflix and Seinfeld were converging with each other from different points.

The deal with Netflix included not just the earlier 9 seasons of the show that he had previously produced but it also included the latest 10th season. In addition, he was adding a couple of new stand-up specials, which are expected to be released later this year. The deal was worth a cool 100 million dollars.

Not Just For Money

However, Seinfeld was not driven solely by the economic factor. He has already earned a nice three billion dollars from syndicating his sitcom from the nineties called Seinfeld. So, money is not what drove this deal to fruition. The fact is that Seinfeld thought it was the right time to jump the ship from Crackle and find somebody more in tune with his way of thinking. His Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee series has him joining friends over a cup of coffee and sharing stories with them as they went for a drive. The show really took off in the middle of last year and at about this time his contract with Crackle was also coming to an end. Perhaps the fact that Steve Masko left Sony TV because of infighting within the company could have helped Seinfeld decide to hook up with Netflix. After all, it was Masko who had played a major role in making Seinfeld the hit it became.

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Total Control Over Projects

Seinfeld is a person who likes to exercise total control over his projects and he also becomes personally invested in making his projects successful. In fact, each guest that appears on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee was personally invited to the show by Seinfeld. This was something that wasn’t possible while he had a contract with Crackle. Acura, which sponsored his Comedians show could place any demand it deemed fit for its own ends like featuring a particular car in the show on a certain episode. Seinfeld was loathing to give up his creative control and so he began to shop around for a new partner. He tapped not just Netflix but also got in touch with Hulu and HBO. But, his discussions with HBO in particular did not bear much fruit.

More Comedy Shows

Netflix perhaps sealed the deal with Seinfeld by promising to build up its own stable of comedy shows. When Seinfeld joined hands with Netflix, he was joining a host of A-listers like Amy Schumer and Chris Rock and more. This was something that appealed to Seinfeld, who was very excited at the prospect of working with Ted Sarandos. Sarandos, according to Seinfeld shared the same enthusiasm as he did for stand-up comedy and in addition Netflix was also providing the right technological platform for his show.

Although Crackle was loathed to see Seinfeld partner with Netflix, it could not do much to prevent it from happening. Also, with Crackles’ shows declining it was expected that Seinfeld would take his business somewhere else. Who better to join hands with than Netflix?